Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Documentation

SMC Consulting, Inc. has performed National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Environmental Evaluations for both the Port of Houston Authority and the Texas Department of Transportation.  These NEPA Evaluations were performed to explore the impacts of proposed partially federally funded projects.

NEPA requires that before implementing any "major" or "significant" or "federal" action, the agency must consider the environmental impacts of the action, identify unavoidable environmental impacts and make this information available to the public in the EIS or EA. All these conditions must be satisfied before the proposed action is implemented.
NEPA requires that an EIS must include descriptions of:

  • the environmental impacts of the proposed action
  • any unavoidable adverse environmental impacts
  • alternatives, including no action
  • the relationship between short term uses of the environment and maintenance of long-term ecological productivity irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources and
  • secondary/cumulative effects of implementing the proposed action.

Federal regulations provide for the preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) to determine whether or not the proposed action fits within the definition of actions that require an EIS. An EA considers the impacts of the proposed action and alternatives. It may conclude with a recommendation to prepare an EIS or with a recommendation to prepare a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). An EA must generally include the same contents but may be briefer.

EIS's and EA's are environmental documents written under the direction of a federal agency to aid in decision making. They explore feasible alternatives to a proposed action and the likely environmental consequences of those actions. NEPA sought to put environmental concerns on par with economic motivations and technological feasibility when making a decision that could affect the environment. Hydrological/geological, biological/ecological, social and health are among the consequences considered. More recently, archeological, historical, cultural impact analyses, and financial management plans for an action have been added to the EIS process.